'Dire and devastating long-term consequences' predicted beyond the COVID-19 pandemic | Credit: Jordi Matas/DRC
'Dire and devastating long-term consequences' predicted beyond the COVID-19 pandemic | Credit: Jordi Matas/DRC

The Danish Refugee Council has warned that the COVID-19 crisis will have devastating long-term consequences for displaced people. It wants to raise $75 million to protect these communities beyond the current pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis is already having an impact on the health of vulnerable migrants and refugees, especially those living in overcrowded settings where physical distancing is nearly impossible and where there are no proper hygiene facilities or access to medical care.

But the Danish Refugee Council, an international aid organization, is worried about the wider effects of the pandemic for migrants and others with limited access to rights and services.

“We fear that the secondary impact of this crisis can have dire and devastating long-term consequences such as exacerbated poverty, loss of rights and increased risks of conflicts,” says DRC Secretary General, Charlotte Slente.

Migrants unable to meet basic needs

The crisis has already left many displaced people unable to meet basic needs such as food, rent and education. A recent survey by the DRC of 867 Syrian refugee households in Jordan showed that only 3% currently have a family member employed, compared with 65% before the pandemic.

80% of Syrian households also said they did not have access to enough food for the next two weeks. More than two-thirds of those who were renting feared they would be evicted if the situation continued. 75% said they would not be able to pay the next month's rent or would have to borrow money to do so.

According to the DRC, the situation is not unique to Jordan: “(This) testifies to a gloomy future ahead for the most vulnerable,” the organization says.

Appeal for aid

The DRC has launched a global appeal for $75 million to help 6.5 million people worldwide whom they say will have to face the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak long after the first wave of the virus has passed. 

The funds are for displaced people in 37 countries and will be spent on protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, basic needs, camp coordination and management, economic recovery and community engagement and armed violence reduction.

 

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